Friday, March 5, 2010

Plains, Georgia, Home of Jimmy Carter

Today we took a drive over to Plains some 20 miles or so southwest of Andersonville.  Plains is the tiny rural community which is the home of the 39th President of the United States.  Mr. and Mrs. Carter still have their home in Plains and much of the community is designated a National Historical Site.

We began our tour of Plains at the local high school.  Mr. Carter graduated from Plains High School in 1941.  The National Park Service now occupies the building and has restored it to the way it looked when Jimmy was a student.  One classroom has been set up as it would have been, otherwise, the rest of the rooms now exhibit photos and artifacts of the Carters’ lives.

A mile or so from the high school is Maranatha Baptist Church where the Carters’ are still members.

The five or six stores on Main Street are really all there is to Plains.  We went in and browsed around each one.  In the Plain Peanut store we bought some fried peanuts and a small jar of peach preserves.  The Plain Peanut Store (under the Plains, Georgia Home of Jimmy Carter sign) is the business Billy Carter started in his service station across the street.  This building was the warehouse of President Carter’s father’s peanut business.  The rest of the stores along the block are antique dealers, but we failed to find anything we couldn’t live without.

Plains Depot and Campaign Headquarters
Across the street in the next block is the Plains train depot.  The depot building was used as Carter’s campaign headquarters during his presidential campaign.  The park service has restored the building to its 1976 appearance and it now exhibits memorabilia from that campaign.  The depot was chosen as the campaign headquarters because it was about the only building in town that had restroom facilities.

Boyhood Home of Jimmy Carter
A couple miles west of town is the family farm where President Carter spent his childhood years.  We had a ranger show us around the home, the small store which Earl Carter ran, the vegetable gardens and barn area, and the sharecroppers home of Jack and Rachel Clark.

Down on the family farm

I know you're surprised to see peacocks in Georgia

Along the road to the farm is the Lebanon Cemetery where the President’s mother and father are buried.  We did not stop there.

Between the farm and the downtown area, is where the Carter’s home is located.  It sits back from the main road in a large clump of trees.  It certainly creates a peaceful, secluded area for their modest home, but all those trees completely obstruct the view of the house from the street.  With all the security, there is no way to get close enough to get a clear view of the house.

We enjoyed our day and, as we always do at historical sites like this, we learned a great deal.

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